BEIT UMMAR: Israeli military destroys water pipe and blockades road

16 June 2007
BEIT UMMAR: Israeli military destroys water pipe and blockades road

On the afternoon of Tuesday 12 June 2007, the Israeli military destroyed a
main water pipe in the town of Beit Ummar, leaving at least ten houses in
the village without water. The military also reinforced an existing
roadblock on the street leading toward the wholesale vegetable market,
closing the road to both vehicular traffic and pedestrians.

The blockaded road is one of only two roads leading from Route 60--the main
road from Hebron to Bethlehem--into the town. The Israeli military controls
all movement on the other road, now the only way people living in Beit Ummar
can access the main road. The closure of the road leading to the wholesale
vegetable market during this harvest season is likely to have an adverse
affect on the farmers in the Beit Ummar neighborhood.

At approximately 3:30 p.m., CPTers Tarek Abuata, Jan Benvie and Eileen
Hanson were preparing to return to Hebron, after visiting a family in Beit
Ummar, when they observed an Israeli jeep and a military bulldozer stop in
the village. Initially the Israeli military moved the existing concrete
blocks, opening the road. They then drove the bulldozer to the area near
the vegetable market where they collected more concrete blocks from an
unused roadblock. In total, the military utilized nine large concrete
blocks to reconstruct the roadblock, and then used the bulldozer to dig up
the asphalt road, tearing off the concrete and metal cover of the water
main, causing water to gush out of the broken pipe.

In November 2006, the Mayor of Beit Ummar, Farhan Alqam, told CPT about the
Israeli plan to develop Route 60. ( See 28 November 2006 CPTnet release,
"BEIT UMMAR: Who is in charge here?") Although the proposed new section of
Route 60 will bypass the town, the Israeli authorities have issued orders to
confiscate 700 dunums (175 acres) from Beit Ummar lands, as well as 350
dunums (85 acres) from nearby Halhul and 50 dunums (12 acres) for the
neighboring Al-Aroub Agricultural College (planning project number
T/20/901.) The new road will be part of the Israeli segregated road network
and Palestinian-registered vehicles will not be able to use it (Applied
Research Institute-Jerusalem, August 2006 Report
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For photos of the blockade and destruction of the water pipe in Beit Ummar,